A £2.9million overhaul is on the cards for Colchester’s famous castle after lottery funding was won to draw up proposals.

Colchester Castle, a Norman building which is one of the town’s major tourist attractions, has been given £265,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop a plan.

The Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service now has two years to submit detailed proposals in a bid to win a further £1.6million of the estimated £2.9million cost of the project.

Museum bosses want to increase the amount of information visitors will be able to find out about the building itself, which has previously been highlighted as a weakness.

They also hope to present the history of Colchester, Roman Britain’s first capital, in a series of new displays.

In addition, the revamp would bring information about some of the latest archaeological discoveries, including the Roman Circus, into the museum.

The money would also cover repairs to the roof and an upgrade of the heating system.

Museum manager Peter Berridge said: “We are so delighted with the news.

“This first round pass enables us to move forward into phase two of our plans to develop the castle, its collections, stories and visitors’ facilities.”

Paul Smith, Colchester councillor responsible for culture, said: “This will further enhance the quality of our heritage attraction in the town and what Colchester has to offer as a tourist destination.”

Colchester Council would have to find the remainder of the project’s costs.

The success follows a series of setbacks, with the Heritage Lottery Fund turning down a £2.6million attempt to upgrade Colchester’s Castle Park in July.

Earlier this year a further bid for nearly £1million of lottery funding for a visitors’ centre for Colchester’s Roman Circus was also turned down.

Robyn Llewellyn, of the Heritage Lottery Fund said: “The first round pass is an important step towards the future development of Colchester Castle Museum.

“Although this does not guarantee that at the second round an award will be made, the fund will offer the museum service full support in taking their application further.”